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NFY – Nylon Filament Yarn

The nylon fabric is a generic designation for a family of synthetic polymers known generically as polyamides and first produced on February 28, 1935 by Wallace Carothers at DuPont. Nylon comes in many types, the two most common for nylon fabrics, textile and plastics industries are: nylon 6 and nylon 6,6. Nylon 6,6 is made of It has a dense structure with small, evenly spaced pores. This means that nylon 6,6 is difficult to dye, but once dyed it has superior colorfastness and is less susceptible to fading from sunlight and ozone and to yellowing from nitrous oxide. hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid, which give nylon 6,6 a total of 12 carbon atoms, and its name. It is easy to find the nylon fabric today.

Nylon fabrics made of nylon 6 yarn begins as pure caprolactam. As caprolactam has 6 carbon atoms, it got the name Nylon 6.When caprolactam is heated at about 533 K in an inert atmosphere of nitrogen for about 4-5 hours, the ring breaks and undergoes polymerization. Then the molten mass is passed through spinnerets to form fibers of Nylon 6. During polymerization, the peptide bond within each caprolactam molecular is broken, with the active groups on each side re-forming two new bonds as the monomer becomes part of the polymer backbone. Unlike nylon 6.6, in which the direction of the amide bond reverses at each bond, all nylon 6 amide bonds lie in the same direction. The nylon fabric is made from nylon 6.

Features of nylon fabrics - Fibers of nylon fabrics have high elasticity and luster, highly resistant to abrasion, chemicals like acids alkalis, etc, wrinkle proof, has the potential to be used as a technical nutrient, Nylon 6 absorbs up to 2.4% of water which results in reduction in tensile strength, and Nylon 6 is a semi crystalline polyamide. Nylon is very much suitable for hosiery and the knitted fabrics because of its smoothness, light weight and high strength. Nylon is a lustrous fibre. The lustre of the fibre can be modified by adding the delustering agent at the molten stage.

Nylons are polyamides with recurring amide groups. They contain carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen elements. Nylon has good tenacity and the strength is not lost with age. Nylon has a high strength to weight ratio. It is one of the lightest textile fibres is at the same time also one of the strongest. It is one of the fibres which are added at the points of wear such as knees and seats of jeans and toes and heels of socks. The strength of the nylon fabric is lost when wet. Nylon has excellent abrasion resistance. Nylon has good elasticity which makes it much suitable for the apparel purposes. Nylon fabrics have excellent resilience. Nylon fabrics retain their smooth appearance and the wrinkles from the usual daily activities can be removed easily.

The major process licensers for Caprolactam (raw material for NFY) are DSM/Stamicarbon, BASF, Ube, IFP & CIECH.

LIBOLOB and Formosa, Asia Fiber Public Co. Ltd, Chainlon, and BASF are some of the biggest producers of NFY in the world.

In 2000 total nylon filament production in the world was 22.8 MT which grew to 24 MT in 2011 and is expected to touch 26 MT in 2016, whereas Nylon 66 filament production in 2000 was 12 MT which fell down to 9 MT in 2011 and expected to again grow to 10 MT in 2016.In India Nylon filament production in 2000 was 0.07 MT which grew to 0.08 MT in 2011 and is expected to touch 0.09 MT in 2016.

Caprolactam is used by Nylon tyre cord fabric as well as nylon filament yarn producers. Major users of Caprolactam in India are SRF, Century Enka, JCT etc. While SRF uses caprolactam for producing NTCF, nylon compounding chips etc, JCT uses them to produce NFY and Century Enka produces both NTCF and NFY. There are other players using nylon like Garware Marine, Garware Wall ropes etc. SRF is the largest user of caprolactam in India, and it is also India's largest NTCF producer.

China is not only the largest producer of nylon filament yarn in the world, it also imports more than any other country - 24% of the global total. The chart for world nylon filament of all types shows a distinct dip in 2008/09 followed in 2010/11 by a sharp response that has not been maintained. This pattern is also to be seen in the global chart for nylon industrial filament, but is far less marked in textile filament. The chart for industrial filament does however show long-term growth, over 2010-2020 forecast at 2.4% per annum; whereas for textile filament the trend is only at 0.9% per annum. Demand for nylon industrial filament in the Americas and across Europe is almost in balance, but quite flat. Asia Pacific less China shows some modest growth and is expected to remain almost in balance. China however, in spite of growth at 4.1% per annum, also runs a surplus into the long-term. Acrylic in 2012 is forecast worldwide to decline by 0.6%, but nylon filament to grow by 0.9%.

The main applications of nylon filament yarn is innerwear, swimming wear, fishing net, sewing thread, socks, gloves, magic tape, rain coats and shower curtains.

Manufacturing Process of Nylon Filaments

The two varieties of nylon, which are used for apparel purposes which include Nylon 6 and Nylon 6,6. Nylon 6 is made from one monomer (Caprolactum) containing 6 carbon atoms. Nylon 6,6 is made from hexamethylene diamide and adipic acid which has six carbon atoms each.

Manufacturing Nylon 6

The raw material for manufacturing Nylon 6 is coal.
  • Cyclohexane oxime is produced by a series of chemical reactions on coal.
  • Cyclo heaxaneoxime is then treated with sulphuric acid to form caprolactum.
  • The caprolactum is a monomer with 6 carbon atoms that are polymerized to from chains of caprolactum. Polymerization is done by gently heating it in a steam – jacked stainless steel vessel. The solution is stabilised as a super polymer under constant steam and pressure.
  • Nylon may be delustered by adding the delustering agents like titanium di oxide, barium sulphate, zinc oxide, and zinc sulphate.
  • The molten nylon 6 polymer is allowed to flow onto a slowly revolving casting wheel.
  • These are sprayed with cold water, which hardens it into milky white ribbons.
  • The ribbons are transformed into flakes that are sent for spinning and are then drawn into the fibre form.

Nylon 6,6 is made from Hexamethylene diamine and adipic acid as shown in the figure below.

Melt spin-draw processes for nylon yarn (a) draw-twist process, (b) conventional spinning process, and (c) coupled process


Capacity (kt) Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Century Enka 18 18 18 18 18 18
JCT Ltd. 14 14 14 14 14 14
Total 32 32 32 32 32 32

Producer NFY: India Demand Supply
Actual Projected
2011-12 2012-13 2013-14 2014-15 2015-16 2016-17
Capacity 32 32 32 32 32 32
Consumption 48 59 63 65 69 71
Cons Growth (%)   23% 7% 3% 6% 3%

NFY - 100% end use consumption is textiles

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